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The mental health and well-being of internally displaced female Yazidis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: a realist review of psychosocial interventions and the impact of COVID-19

Lobanov-Rostovsky, Sophia; Kiss, Ligia; (2022) The mental health and well-being of internally displaced female Yazidis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: a realist review of psychosocial interventions and the impact of COVID-19. Global Mental Health , 9 pp. 508-520. 10.1017/gmh.2022.55. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Yazidis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have been exposed to recurrent traumatic experiences associated with genocide and gender-based violence (GBV). In 2014, ISIS perpetrated another genocide against the Yazidi community of Sinjar. Women and girls were held captive, raped and beaten. Many have been forced into displacement. Rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide are high. Limited research has evaluated interventions delivered to this population. / Methods: This review explores how the global evidence on psychosocial interventions for female survivors of conflict-related sexual violence applies to the context of the female Yazidi population. We used a realist review to explore mechanisms underpinning complex psychosocial interventions delivered to internally displaced, conflict-affected females. Findings were cross-referenced with eight realist, semi-structured interviews with stakeholders who deliver interventions to female Yazidis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Interviews also allowed us to explore the impact of COVID-19 on effectiveness of interventions. / Results: Seven mechanisms underpinned positive mental health outcomes (reduced PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation): safe spaces, a strong therapeutic relationship, social connection, mental health literacy, cultural-competency, gender-matching and empowerment. Interviews confirmed relevance and applicability of mechanisms to the displaced female Yazidi population. Interviews also reported increased PTSD, depression, suicide and flashbacks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant disruptions to interventions. / Conclusion: COVID-19 is just one of many challenges in the implementation and delivery of interventions. Responding to the mental health needs of female Yazidis exposed to chronic collective violence requires recognition of their sociocultural context and everyday experiences.

Type: Article
Title: The mental health and well-being of internally displaced female Yazidis in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: a realist review of psychosocial interventions and the impact of COVID-19
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/gmh.2022.55
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/gmh.2022.55
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
Keywords: gender-based violence, internally displaced person, psychosocial, post-traumatic stress disorder, Yazidi
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10160789
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